Time is up for Hunter Valley curfews: ATA NSW

By: Paul Howell


Industry body says the Hunter Expressway should mean a better approach to over-dimensional vehicle restrictions in the region.

Time is up for Hunter Valley curfews: ATA NSW
ATA NSW manager Jodie Broadbent says existing truck curfews make it hard to drive a complete journey in the NSW Hunter region.

 

The transport industry says it’s time to rethink curfews for over-dimensional vehicles in the New South Wales Hunter region.

Manager of the Australian Trucking Association’s NSW branch Jodie Broadbent says the Class 1 curfews operate throughout the coal mining region including in outer Newcastle and to and from Port of Newcastle.

These apply to relatively large numbers of wider vehicles carrying equipment between the port and inland mining sites.

Curfews are not coordinated between towns, making it difficult to drive a complete journey at any time of day.

"These curfews can mean a truck with a big load can take two days to travel just 150km from the Port of Newcastle carrying vital equipment for businesses in the Hunter region," Broadbent says.

She says the curfews were designed to keep roads clear of slow-moving wide vehicles during morning peak hours.

But the opening of the Hunter Expressway, from Newcastle to the New England Highway at Branxton, has significantly changed conditions on the urban roads affected.

"In March 2014, the $1.7 billion Hunter Expressway was opened, diverting more than 20,000 vehicles per day off local roads in the Hunter region," Broadbent says – noting that it is now much easier and safer to overtake slow-moving vehicles on routes between the port and mining operations in the Hunter Valley.

"As a member of the Newcastle Freight Group, we have continually urged Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to remove the curfews in this region, especially since the opening of the Hunter Expressway."

The Newcastle Freight Group is meeting on Friday. Representatives of the RMS have been invited to discuss the curfews in the region.

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